Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

AMERIKA....The Guardian describes the charges faced by Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, currently on trial in London:

The cleric faces nine charges under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 alleging he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims. Mr Hamza denies all the charges.

....Mr Hamza faces a charge relating to the [Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which was found in his home] under section 58 of the Terrorism Act, which accuses him of possession of a document which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

....Mr Hamza also faces four charges under the Public Order Act 1986 of "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

Hamza is an unusually repellent person, which makes it hard to work up much sympathy for his plight. And yet something about this trial struck me: unless I'm mistaken, not a single one of these charges would make it to trial in the United States, Patriot Act or no. (I suppose the solicitation to murder is a bare possibility though it's a longshot since the "solicitation" apparently consisted of spittle-flecked speeches in mosques, not actual conspiracies in which Hamza's followers were told to go out and kill people but the others sound like complete nonstarters.)

I don't really have any reason to post about this except to point out that this is yet another example of a way in which America, which is supposedly far to Europe's right, isn't always. Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

Kevin Drum 6:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (110)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Just wait for Patriot II.

Posted by: jay boilswater on January 12, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

C'mon Kevin, give Bush time. Building a fascist state is hard work.

Posted by: ckelly on January 12, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're right in fact, but wrong in essence. Jose Padilla just plead not guilty to somewhat similar charges after being held for what? four years?

The Europeans have stupid, Orwellian laws, yes. But they do it out in the open, and they don't execute the people convicted of those crimes.

Posted by: enozinho on January 12, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we have a First Amendment, and Europe doesn't. Pretty simple, huh?

Of course, I'm not actually sure we really do have a First Amendment any more, given the actions of Messrs. McCain and Feingold. These days, I suppose the FEC would simply call Mr. Hamza's speech an illegal campaign contribution and ban it.

Posted by: Al on January 12, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

Mussolini defined fascism as the convergence of corporate and state power and said that it should really be called "corporatism".

We are much closer to being a fascist state than you think we are.

There's a lot less need for overt authoritarianism when the corporate state can achieve absolute totalitarianism simply by keeping everyone sedated with "soma", a.k.a. TV.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Come on. We now live in a country where one man (The President)can unilaterally declare citizens enemy combatants without having to show cause and detain them indefinitely.

Maybe that's distant enough from a fascist state for you. I dunno.

And Al, the 1st Amendment is apparently not good enough for Democrats trying to see their President at any of his speaking appearances. Or aren't t-shirts and bumper stickers considered speech?

Posted by: mercury on January 12, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, jesus, what about that Patriot Act prosecution of that Florida computer science faculty memeber, a Palestinan, for essentially cheerleading with his buddies in front of the TV when terrorists blew something up in Israel?

The case collapsed (this was last month -- eight counts thrown out and the rest deadlocked) and was therefore a precedent disaster for the Patriot Act -- but it's essentially the same kind of case with the same kind of evidence.

Help me out somebody, what was this guy's name?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

mercury wrote: Or aren't t-shirts and bumper stickers considered speech?

No, only money is considered speech.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

sami al-arian

Posted by: enozinho on January 12, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

enozinho has it right. The difference is that these countries have some scary laws, but they are out there in the open, and someone could, if they wanted, try to change them.

That's fundamentally different from Bush saying "The law is me and I am the law." You don't get that kind of slavish devotion to one man's notion of truth in Europe. I wonder why...

(uh oh, is that the most subtle invoking of Godwin's law yet?)

Posted by: craigie on January 12, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Tell it Hamdi and Padilla, Kevin.

Here in the states, we wouldn't take Hamza to trial. We'd just declare him an "enemy combatant" or a "material witness" and hold him indefinitely without charges.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on January 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Assimilation of immigrant groups is also a much dicier issue in Western Europe because of the amount of space to settle in and also because of the legacies of European colonialism.

Whenever stuff like the British train bombings happen, you have Blair start talking like Chriac and demanding that ethnic communities more tightly assimilate into British society.

Only problem is -- if the British way of dealing with immigrants is bad -- the French is far, far worse.

What's needed in Europe is a sense of pluralism unlike either the strict assimilationist model or the liberal multiculturalism of countries like Holland.

I submit that our middle-ground pluralist model is a bona-fide American cultural advantage over Western Europe.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

And yet something about this trial struck me: unless I'm mistaken, not a single one of these charges would make it to trial in the United States, Patriot Act or no.

True, since he wouldn't make it to trial. He'd be locked up in Guantanamo or "disappeared" to some secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe or Afghanistan.

Posted by: Stefan on January 12, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I see Quaker beat me to my point....

Posted by: Stefan on January 12, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Quaker in a Basement:

Excellent excellent point.

As draconian and speech-criminalizing as those British laws seem to us -- they have no goddamned concept of "disappearing" people as "enemy combatants." And they have a far objectively graver threat from Islamist terrorism, too.

I think that's the nail in the coffin of Kevin's argument right there.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure a right/left definition is appropriate here. I'd say in some ways Europe limits freedoms more than the US.

The difference is that it has consistantly drifting towards greater freedoms for some time, whereas the US has been sprinting towards less freedom for about five years now...

Posted by: skelly on January 12, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why yes, everything is just better in the US!

If you think that it should not be against the law to incite people to murder, then it's not just the laws of the US that you should be concerned about, it's the mentality of the citizenry.

There are reasons, historically based as it happens, why some of these laws exist in many European countries. That they do not exist in the US does not mean that everything is jes' fahn at home.

Your perspective frightens me. I assume that I do not understand your point of view and not that you are stupid, but your perspective still frightens me intensely.

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on January 12, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

As Quaker pointed out, at least Hamza will have the chance to stand up in court and answer the charges against him. Here he never would.

Posted by: Stefan on January 12, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

skelly & craigie:

Agreed. On the one hand, this is a function of recent history with America moving backwards, on the other it's a long-term legacy of WW2.

Western Europe has civil liberty protection in some areas that vastly outstrip ours. Like, for instance, corporate data-mining is verboten. Eurpoeans take their privacy rights much more seriously than we do when they're impinged by business interests.

On the other hand, Europe limits freedom of association in ways that seem incomprehensible to us -- until you remember the lessons of fascism.

Germany outright criminalizes Scientology, because they see it as a well-funded cult.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other like-minded outfits have (successfully?) filed suit against various white supremacist groups and individuals over the last 20-30 years on the basis of their inflammatory not-quite-calls-to-murder.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on January 12, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

You completely miss the point of a fascist state, which is that they don't have to have trials, they can just hold the undesirable indefinitely without charge.

Which, by an amazing coincidence, America is doing.

Posted by: derek on January 12, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Really dumbass question, but it's been bugging me for weeks.

What does IIRC stand for?

Thanks, he said sheepishly.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

(uh oh, is that the most subtle invoking of Godwin's law yet?)

As a Mack truck, brother!

Posted by: shortstop on January 12, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC = "if I recall (or remember) correctly"

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

America, which is supposedly far to Europe's right, isn't always.

You're operating under the mistaken belief that the UK is part of Europe. Airstrip One and all...

Posted by: ogmb on January 12, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to join many of your commenters to say that I think you have missed the point. Yes, our laws should still give us protection better than in many other countries and so should our Constitution, but the guys in power here now are ripping down these laws and the constitution piece by piece, yard by yard, shredding it. As Bush is quoted to have said a few weeks ago, "Stop bugging me with the Constitution, it's just a fXXking piece of paper." [or words to that effect]

Posted by: walldon on January 12, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK
And yet something about this trial struck me: unless I'm mistaken, not a single one of these charges would make it to trial in the United States, Patriot Act or no.

Well, sure, because the United States legal system won't really let you charge people for crimes under British laws. But solicitation of murder is criminal in the US, as is attempting to injure or intimidate persons on the basis of their race or religion (see, for instance, 18 USC § 245). So all three of the types of offenses you outline are generally criminal in the United States.

(I suppose the solicitation to murder is a bare possibility though it's a longshot since the "solicitation" apparently consisted of spittle-flecked speeches in mosques, not actual conspiracies in which Hamza's followers were told to go out and kill people but the others sound like complete nonstarters.)

Conspiracy and solicitation are two distinct crimes. If, in a "spittle-flecked speech" you instruct people to commit some crime, with the intent that they actually do so, then you have, indeed, solicited the crime, even though you haven't made a specific agreement with specific individuals to commit the crimes (which would be conspiracy.)

I don't really have any reason to post about this except to point out that this is yet another example of a way in which America, which is supposedly far to Europe's right, isn't always.

Well, besides the error of making this comparison based on the content of the law in the present context (which I'll get to below), your fundamental premise that the kind of acts involved aren't criminal in the US is wrong, so even if you were comparing on the right basis, your conclusion would be unwarranted.

Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

Ever since the President started detaining people without process, according to him, without recourse to law or legal constraint, started claiming the power to set aside the law, and asserted that he was unconstrained by law in other areas, deciding whether our system was more or less totalitarian than others by comparing the content of the criminal law became completely missing the point.

If the government is unconstrained by the law, the content of the law ceases to be relevant in determining whether the government is totalitarian. The content of the law only matters in such a comparison when it constrains the actions of the government. As it no longer does in the United States (though legality may, one hopes, be forcefully reasserted in the not-too-distant future), such comparisons are meaningless.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

If we had effective hate speech laws, half of Amerika would be locked up.

Posted by: chris on January 12, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Nicely-made argument.

It all hinges on the Yoo Doctrine.

Everythiing else is commentary.

Although, by the same token, it's fair to make comparisons in the differences between European and British libel law, privacy protections and laws against association, etc. There are certainly cultural and historical differences.

But it all hinges on whether or not an executive considers itself *above* the law or not.

And that's a distinction of kind, not degree.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

"unless I'm mistaken, not a single one of these charges would make it to trial in the United States, Patriot Act or no."

Don't worry Lidsay Graham is working on it.

Posted by: nocasa on January 12, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: I think you are talking about Sami al-Arian.

see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5041485

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 12, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Your rant misses a basic fact. Hamza is a British citizen. Your charges of a Govt unconstrained by law are mere hysterics. Kevin has it correctly. He would also be surprised to find the French are far more intrusive with their Islamic minorities and the Dutch are moving quickly to catch up with the French.

What do you think of Alito getting on the court?

Posted by: rdw on January 12, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

In the US we have authorities that are willing to aggressively work at entrapment, laws like the law of "seditious conspiracy" that can be used even if a crime was only discussed, no effective rules against wire tapping some one named Abu, and jury pools filled with paranoid Fox News addicts who don't even need to hear the english translation of a clerics speech before convicting. To boot, our immigration laws also make it incredibly easy to expel foreign nationals who don't watch what they say.

If you believe Hamza would still be running around disney land masquerading as captain cook giving fatwahs to school children you're mistaken. It's the british that waited 5 years to arrest the man. We would have handed him over to the Yemeni government in 1999.

Posted by: B on January 12, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hellfire missile Drum! Fascism is as fascism does. The Huston plan 2 is up to the camps stage right now - when are you going to wake the fuck up and smell what yo shovellin' fool!
I have personally had the USSA KGB in the form of a SS agent ( Rick Walkinshaw ) and the FBI after me...and I live in fucking AUSTRALIA!

Tell the million prisoners in the Gulags Amerikkka's not quite done yet! Tell Leonard Peltier, Jim Bell and that lawyer, Lyn Stewart.

I pray for some more strikes on DC - a dirty war requires dirty bombs in response. Wipe out the W/house and finish off the pentagon. Fuck America and kill the president. Then the next one and then the next one till they get the fucking point. Amerika is fucked.

Posted by: professor rat on January 12, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

"Look, a puppy!"

The French, British and Dutch don't have "enemy combatatants" who they whisk into secret detention facilities.

And they have a *much larger* object threat of Islamist terrorism.

Chris Dicely posts on-point with a factual connection to law.

*You* rant and puff recycled rhetoric.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK
Your rant misses a basic fact. Hamza is a British citizen.

WTF does that have to do with anything?

Your charges of a Govt unconstrained by law are mere hysterics.

Saying that doesn't make it so.

Kevin has it correctly.

Someday, you'll need to learn the difference between an argument and a shotgun blast of unconnected and unsupported and often irrelevant assertions.

He would also be surprised to find the French are far more intrusive with their Islamic minorities and the Dutch are moving quickly to catch up with the French.

I doubt it; I seem to remember over the past couple years a few posts here from Kevin about both French and Dutch policies in that regard, though I may be thinking of somewhere else. Still, I doubt Kevin is unaware of them.

What do you think of Alito getting on the court?

I don't think its much relevant to the subject matter of this thread is what I think of it.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

" Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.
Kevin Drum 6:28 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) |"

If it turns out -- as I'd bet it will -- that Bushit was spying on either domestic political opposition and/or non-violent activists (that one's strongly indicated already, in Pentagon files) and/or domestic journamalists, will you still be making this claim?
What if they've been spying on YOU?

Posted by: smartalek on January 12, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I pray for some more strikes on DC - a dirty war requires dirty bombs in response. Wipe out the W/house and finish off the pentagon. Fuck America and kill the president. Then the next one and then the next one till they get the fucking point. Amerika is fucked."

I'm not sure what "fucking point" is to be gotten, other than the fact that you are a psychopath.

As for the issue at hand, I agree with those posters who have said that disappearing suspects or holding them indefinitely is just as bad as those speech-restricting laws they have across the pond.

Posted by: mmy on January 12, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: ...we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

What exactly needs to occur before you "seem to think" we are a fascist state? Whatever it is, after years of reading your various criticisms, always tinged with the thick residue of your early indoctrination into the "America: Land of the Free" school of thought, it is clear to me it would need to involve some serious injustice happening to you personally. As long as you prosper, you will think we are "pretty distant" from fascism.

Tellingly, fascism is, more than anything, a system which arises out of and thrives in selfishness.


Posted by: jayarbee on January 12, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

What does IIRC stand for?

I know someone up thread provided the answer, but I thought you might appreciate this site:

acronym finder

I know I've found it to be very helpful.

Posted by: Edo on January 12, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC = "if I recall (or remember) correctly"

Really? I thought it stood for "Republicans are destroying my country."

Posted by: craigie on January 12, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

One of the things I always found interesting in dealing with Brits is not just that they don't have a First Amendment, but that they really don't believe in free speech.

To me, and I suspect I'm not alone, freedom of speech is the most fundamental of our freedoms, the one most worth dying for. Without it nothing else matters. But Brits (and other Europeans) think such an attitude is silly, and they believe *of course* the government can regulate what you say. Big cultural divide there, I think.

Posted by: The Screed on January 12, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Edo:

Thanks, bro. Very thoughtful of you.

The Screed:

No, I think this is a vast overstatement. All you need to do is peruse the tabloids and their endless pursuit of British royalty out of any proportion of a proper sense of privacy and you'll see what I mean.

The Brits don't have NYT vs Sullivan. The burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser in a libel case if the accused is a public figure. That can lead to some messy prosecutions.

But in fact, the Brits rely on an extremely rich tradition of common law. They don't have a written constitution (unless you want to count the Magna Carta), but that doesn't mean that they don't have legal precedents which uphold free speech as we understand it in the US.

And again, if you'll take how zealously the British and European publics guard their personal information from corporate data-mining services, you'll find that in some areas, they're more civil libertarian than Americans. Certainly their traditions of political rhetoric are full-blown and there are MPs who make speeches that would never pass the "decorum" test in the US House and Senate.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

CORRECTION:

The burden of proof is on the accusER, not the accusED, in a British libel case if the accused is a public figure.

SHEESH!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK
One of the things I always found interesting in dealing with Brits is not just that they don't have a First Amendment, but that they really don't believe in free speech.

Even if that were true, Americans are only just starting to again. In 2005:

23% of Americans said the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, compared to 49% in 2002 (the first survey done after the 9/11 attacks) and down from 30% in 2004.

2005 State of the First Amendment survey

Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK
But in fact, the Brits rely on an extremely rich tradition of common law. They don't have a written constitution (unless you want to count the Magna Carta), but that doesn't mean that they don't have legal precedents which uphold free speech as we understand it in the US.

One thing its important to note is that there has been considerable argument that the British are more concerned about freedom of speech and other civil liberties precisely because it is well accepted that the Parliament has the power to override it, and that therefore popular vigilance and attention to such matters in elections is greater.

I'm not sure that's true in practice, but while the details of the practical protections are different, I'm not sure that substantively the British are, on the whole, less free than the Americans (even pre-Bush), even though our Constitutional order, in theory, has stronger safeguards of certain freedoms.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Very good point. Because our free speech is codified, we suffer swings of public opinion in a way that Europe has been mostly immune to since WW2. Alien & Sedition Acts, the Comstock prosecutions, the McCarthy era and then the swing back to civil liberties with the Warren court and the post-Watergate era.

Europeans, however, learned a much deeper lesson than we did after WW2 about the dangers of a clique in government going after civil liberties. Their free speech laws may be different around the edges (and they are; hate speech codes are much more acceptible in Europe generally), they don't tend to overreact to events and back away from their traditions as we do in America.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Precisely. Popular vigilance vs a supposedly untouchable Constitution.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that "Brits" (I suppose we're an utterly homogenous lot, then) value free speech not at all, or even that they just don't rate it very highly, is simply wrong.

Yes, the government has more powers to restrict the press and publishers there. But those powers are becoming ever less meaningful with the Internet, and in general the public, I think, values freedom of speech rather highly.

(Just as a trivial comparison, you can say fuck on broadcast channels there. Sometimes the restrictions on free speech are taken for granted in the US.)

There certainly have been some overt restrictions on free speech - Gerry Adams being re-voiced one of the more offensively stupid - but as others have noted, it's the direction you're heading in as well as where you are. I certainly enjoy & appreciate the protections of the bill of rights now that I live in the US, but the same principles can be found, more diffusely perhaps, in British and EU law as well.

Posted by: Jacob Davies on January 12, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

Kevin Drum 6:28 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (49)

Wow! An independent thought. I'm proud of you Kevin.

You should research how the Chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain is being investigated for anti-gay comments. Anti-jew comments are OK, but anti-gay is not!

The PC Orwellian state.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 12, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of the posters are missing Mr. Drum's point: the United States is not hell and Europe is not heaven. The Europeans are not a superior breed of people, they have their imperfections and failings just like the United States and that it is worth remembering that while things in the United Statesa are bad right now, they are nowhere near as bad as places like Russia, China, Signapore, or any of a number of other nations that could be named.

Posted by: jalrin on January 12, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are."

Give it time Kevin, we'll get there.

Posted by: Channeling Karl Rove on January 12, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's true. We're not like Europe. In America Public Displays of religios hatred are cool. Just look at Fox's sermonizing during their war on Christmas.

Posted by: troll on January 12, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin continues to day dream about old amerika. In the bushcriminal's new 'Merka, Abu Hamza would be declared an enemy kombatant by the idiot king chimpy, be put away in a secert prison, and never be heard from again - who needs specious charges and dictat laws.

Posted by: wake up kevin on January 12, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

jalrin:

Kevin was speaking about Britain (and he meant to include all of Western Europe), not China, Russia or Singapore.

Yes, Europe has its foibles. Any other straw men you'd care to debunk?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Your rant misses a basic fact. Hamza is a British citizen.

WTF does that have to do with anything?


American citizens receive due process. Witness the American Taliban. GWB has been perfectly within the law. If he wasn't there would have been honest impeachment movements not just the rantings of moonbats. Have you notived no sane member of the media or Congress uses the "I" word anymore?

The reason I asked you Alito is because he IS germaine to this thread. To the extent the Democrats in Congress can organize any kind of cohesive offense they'll challenge GWB on the NSA activities the loons are so batsh*t over. I find this doubtful for two reasons:

1.) They can't get this well organized

2.) Even if they did they'd recognize it's a political and legal loser. It becomes an even more obvious a loser with Alito on the bench.

My expectation is they'll ignore the moonbats and cut a deal with GWB to keep the program going with some type of oversight.

Did you see this? Reported in the Toronto Star, The Liberals, who have been painting Harper as a pro-American, right-wing extremist, jumped on his statements. Steve Harper has the courage to recognize the Kyoto treaty for what it is, a failure.

The SES tracking poll has the Conservatives up by 9 which coincides with the 10 point lead identified by EKOS. We finally may have a truly friendly government in Canada.

Posted by: rdw on January 12, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hannah Arendt pointed out in Origins of Totalitarianism (pg. 270) that one of the indicators of a totalitarian state is when a person is better off committing a crime. Then they can expect the lawful treatment of a criminal, and the protection of the justice system, rather than arbitrary rule.

I agree with the commentors above, the extra-legal treatment of Hamdi and Padilla tells us more about the state of our Republic than the lawful trial of Hamza in London.

Posted by: tib on January 12, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

American hostility to any and all restrictions on freedom of expression, except in the most narrow instances of direct solicitation to violating the law, stems partly from Americans' intransigent mistrust of government, which promotes a reflexive "Who judges?"/slippery-slope approach to many legal questions. This mistrust of government and of social consensus is shared on both sides of the political spectrum. It also stems from the unparalleled power of corporations and the wealthy in the American system, which have a vested interest in protecting their unrestricted ability to buy access to the public communications sphere.

This has resulted in an American consensus that attempts to restrict or regulate pornographic or violent entertainment, hate speech and violent propaganda, or the use of private money for the mass dissemination of political indoctrination are unconstitutional and lead inevitably to restrictions on free thought and speech. The famous 1964 line "I know it when I see it," Justice Stewart's comment regarding pornography, is used as an illustration of the dangers of allowing the courts to judge the merits of speech - as if anyone in the real world has any difficulty identifying pornographic XXX videos.

It is true, however, that in a puritanical and intensely polarized country like America, the government probably cannot be trusted to restrict truly offensive and dangerous expression. I can imagine a country in which expression could be regulated in a sane fashion; I see no value to the universal availability of internet pornography in a fashion which makes it difficult or impossible to prevent children from accessing it, filters or no, and I would see no reason to allow an American Abu Hamza to preach anti-Semitic anti-American violent propaganda, especially if Americans influenced by his teachings had recently been blowing up subway trains in NY. But with the political system we have, when our leaders turn to restricting speech, they inevitably attempt to censor Mapplethorpe rather than www.xxxvideos.com, and to outlaw flag-burning or to put war protestors in "free speech zones", rather than stopping insurance corporations from taking out ads against public health insurance, or banning the Turner Diaries, which seem pretty treasonable to me.

Anyway. I think it is possible to make reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression, but only in countries where governments are capable of being reasonable. That seems to exclude America for the time being.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 12, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Harper has the courage to recognize the Kyoto treaty for what it is, a failure.

I have no idea what this comment is doing on this thread, but I wanted to note its idiocy. To the extent Kyoto is failing, it's failing because George Bush is trying to kill it. "Comrade Mao has the courage to recognize the Nationalist government for what it is - a failure. We may finally have a friendly government in China." - Stalin.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 12, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, I give your post 6.5 out of 10 on the Wooten Scale.

You did do your "abandon all hope" bit by stating that that Democrats are losers who will never win for 1.5 points.

You did achieve your usual left-field mention of Kyoto (excellent!) for another 1.5 points.

You brought up the strawman of impeachment both as if it were some major undertaking that lost steam and as if it were even remotely possible in a Republican-controlled Congress, which I felt deserved a full 2 points for its complete and utter dishonesty.

The rest of the tactics in your post (name-calling, non-sequiturs, unsupported assertions) together earned you another 1.5 points for a total of 6.5 overall.

However, you lost points on failing to work in Dan Rather (I'm sure you could have concocted some bullshit thing about how the public doesn't trust the MSM and that's relevant somehow); Kerry's Christmas in Cambodial and the Tar Sands (eaaaasy points since you were already talking about Canada AND Kyoto -- you lost major points there).

Be careful, while you're still the point leader overall it's quite possible that a Fat White Guy or even a Mike K might come out of the weeds and overtake you as head troll.

Posted by: trex on January 12, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Political Pussycat wants to believe that "we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are."

Posted by: Libby Sosume on January 12, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

>...We finally may have a truly friendly government in Canada.

Not that likely, actually. The Conservatives aren't ahead because Canadians have swung to the right. The problem is the Liberals have been in power nigh on 15 years now, and they're a little past their sell-by date (and they're not actually our party of the left - that's the NDP - they're the party of pragmatism. Even our conservatives are merely on the right end of the Democratic party in the USA).

Among Canadians themselves, GWB and his policies popularity is still around 15%, even in Alberta. The value it's been in most western democracies since his initial election.

Besides, Canada has certain...err...regional disagreements, and a couple of true-lefty parties. The result is most likely to be a minority government. Which, if Harper cozys up to Bush in public or does anything stupid with Kyoto et al, would last about six months to a year. Time for our natural governing party to clean house and be ready to ask forgiveness.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 12, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

trex, good stuff.

Posted by: shortstop on January 12, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

trex,

If I come back and say that Ronald Reagan was the most wonderful human being in the history of the world, will I be able to gain some needed points?

Perhaps I should fly to London and stand upon the box in Hyde Park and rant my swill - Where, oh where, in the USA do they have such a place?

Posted by: rdw on January 12, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

As I write this, Howard Dean is jetting to London to help Hamza fight this illegal trial.

Free Tookie!
Free Clarence Ray Allen!
Free the Cuban Five!
Free the Rosenbergs!
Free Abu Hamza!

-- Lonewacko

Posted by: TLB on January 12, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

trex:

I'll echo shortstop; that was hilarious :)

brooksfoe:

Woah, bro -- I do not share your analysis of free speech. I think it'd be a calumny worthy of some severe ACLU action if The Turner Diaries are suppressed. "Treasonous?" Oh man, please don't let lefties *ever* use that word seriously ...

I'm 100% with Holmes that the answer to bad speech is more speech. Yes, even if that includes totally disgusting internet porn and racist how-to-destroy-the-government manuals masquerading as novels.

This isn't to say that I would reject all hate speech codes facially. I wouldn't; I recognize "fighting words" as transcending mere speech, and I also recognize a university's perogative to prevent an atmosphere developing which has the effect of suppressing speech through intimidation.

But generally I think our lassiez-faire approach to regulating speech (and I do recognize a *major* distinction between commercial speech and all other kinds and would regulate it more strongly) avoids creating more problems than regulating it more tightly would solve.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Supra, Bob mentioned the Florida professor whose trial ended in a hung jury. That was in Federal Court.

He has been convicted in the Superior Court of O'Reilly - His conviction has been upheld in the Murdoch Supreme Court.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 12, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks shortshop! I haven't forgotten your great "Bud, Rock, and Mary Jane" post from the other night either.

Brooksian rdw: yes, you can redeem points by mentioning Reagan, particularly if you assert that he single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union while at the same time perplexingly asserting that they were not a major military or world power.

Hell, I suppose if that's true then any of us could have brought it down, although I was but a young trex at the time.

Oh oh -- and saying that Bush is way more conservative than Reagan and that -- and I hope I get this right -- that Alito will make Clarence Thomas look like Thomas Souter or something like that will also haul in big points.

Also, I think the fine literary phrase "rant my swill" deserves a mention.

Posted by: trex on January 12, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nicely said, Bruce (the Canuck).

Harper thinks he's won already so he makes a jackass hubristic comment about Kyoto. It'll probably take him down a few points. Whoever "wins" (with a popular vote in the 30's), this will be another anomaly government ready to totter.

rdw insinuates that Canada is unfriendly. Not true. It's only that over 80% of us don't trust Bush. We're also not so hot about Congress (at the behest of industry lobby groups) stomping all over the free trade agreement.

OT, so I apologize. Maybe Kevin could post something one day about the twisted mess that is current Canadian politics.

Just kidding...

Posted by: caribou on January 13, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of free speech, I wonder how it's faring in the New Iraq (TM)?

Apparently not all that well:

Amnesty International, an independent human rights monitoring group, reports that Mr. Qadir was sentenced on December 19th to thirty years imprisonment for "defamation" in connection with two internet articles criticizing the K-D-P leadership. The sentence was handed down by a state security court in the city of Irbil. But the proceedings, according to Amnesty International, fell "far short" of a fair trial.

Mr. Qadir was reportedly told about the trial only a few minutes before it began, and was represented by a court-appointed lawyer he had never met before. The trial lasted one hour, and the judge passed sentence once Mr. Qadir confirmed that he was the author of the internet articles in question.

http://www.voanews.com/uspolicy/2006-01-06-voa2.cfm

Or for a more emotional discussion:

http://www.uruknet.com/?p=19521&hd=0&size=1&l=x

Cue McAristotle and his Sliding Scale of Atrocities telling us how this is still less bad than under Saddam, which makes it good.

Posted by: trex on January 13, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle and his Sliding Scale of Atrocities telling us how this is still less bad than under Saddam, which makes it good.

Posted by: trex on January 13, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Better than Saddam which is the alternative the Democrats champion.

Posted by: McAristotle on January 13, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Better than Saddam which is the alternative the Democrats champion.
Posted by: McAristotle

we're supposed to trust the war criminals who initially supported and armed saddam to provide a better alternative??? ... boy, you are pretty fucking naive ... even for a republican whore.

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think we're a fascist state. I think a lot of people work hard to make the US work like a fascist state, and don't seem to have the faintest idea that's what they're doing.

Posted by: cld on January 13, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

we're supposed to trust the war criminals who initially supported and armed saddam to provide a better alternative???

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Rather than the guys who wish he was back, who think Arab people are incapable of democracy in any form and can pretend mass graves don't exists to score political points?

Any day. Any day.

Posted by: McA on January 13, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

pretend mass graves don't exists to score political points?
Any day. Any day.
Posted by: McA

try again ... and spare me your sanctimony for mass graves that your heroes helped create.

I've always thought the arabs and iraqis capable of governing themselves, and would wish nothing more than americans to have never supported saddam or the taliban then, and would wish they would stop their equally illegal interventions now.

continued american intervention (especially the secretive, manipulative, torture-loving, war profiteering way that we usually intervene in the mideast) guarantees more terrorism against america.

I'm sure politically immature pussies like you will be weeping and wailing at the next 9/11 ... I'd prefer to prevent it from happening.

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are."

The F word scare you? Fine, call the present US government anything you want. Except American democracy because that it most certainly is not.

Abu Ghraib, extraordinary renditions, illegal wiretaps legally justified, Schiavo, free speech zones, Padilla. Numerous cases of abuse of immigrants at the hands of authority. A mass media restricted nearly entirely to right and extreme right propaganda including establishing a cult of veneration of Bush with billboards proclaiming "Our Leader," comparisons to Churchill, and so forth. Rigged voting machines and rampant corruption of the electoral process.

None of which has anything to do with preventing another major terrorist attack but everything to do with consolidating permanent one-party rule by some of the worst thugs this country has ever seen.

Posted by: tristero on January 13, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

I've always thought the arabs and iraqis capable of governing themselves

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

So why stop assisting the new to be elected government in building its own army and giving it a breathing space to build its own plural consensus?

The purple fingered voters, not Arab enough for yo

Posted by: McA on January 13, 2006 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

Since when is freedom of speech a left or right issue?

(In fact, is there really a "left" or a "right"?)

Posted by: KathyF on January 13, 2006 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Since when is freedom of speech a left or right issue?

Posted by: KathyF on January 13, 2006 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Since Bush is for it, the left is against it...that's how!

Posted by: McAristotle on January 13, 2006 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

The purple fingered voters, not Arab enough for yo
Posted by: McA

maybe if I had fewer brain cells I'd be impressed by this slapshod, sloppy, and bloody attempt to install a friendly Iraqi government. If I was REALLY fucking stupid, I'd even consider it progress over how america has treated arabs in the past.

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2006 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

KathyF:

Well, there's definitely a left and a right, but they don't break down in a philosophically consistent manner. In fact, what used to be called "Liberals" in the 19th century (and today in much of Europe and the Commonwealth) are, in fact, free-market conservatives in America.

Generally speaking, that's a liberal idea, because it opposes government regulation in the name of the innate goodness of human nature. In this sense, invading countries to spread democracy is -- in a philosophical vaccuum -- a quintessentially liberal idea.

Conservatives, OTOH, have traditionally had a more crabbed view of human nature. That's why they tend to be isolationists and why they hew to tradition and ideas of social hierarchy generally.

What changed the poles on economic issues was, more than anything, the New Deal. Government all of a sudden was seen as a force for good rather than a necessary evil, a way of expanding opportunity and leveling the playing field -- again, in the name of an optimistic view of human nature.

So how is shakes out today is that a modern liberal generally favors economic regulation but opposes social regulation. A modern conservative is the opposite. It looks more consistent if you view liberals as having different views about the private sphere and the public sphere. We believe in regulating the public sphere -- because these things impact on a much larger set of people than just the entity being regulated. But we oppose regulation in the private sphere because we believe in personal liberty.

I think it's more philosophically consistent for a liberal to hold these views than it is for a conservative to be pro free-market while also supporting government intervention in things like preventing abortion and intervening in Terry Shiavo's right to die. But maybe that's just me ...

Where it breaks down on speech crosses these lines, and can be better seen as a difference between individualism and communitarianism. There are liberals who are on both sides of this divide. I'm a more traditional civil libertarian, for instance -- and I'm hardcore pro-free speech. But there are communitarian liberals who oppose pornography because it expolits women and would favor hate speech codes on college campus. Likewise, there are social conservatives who would find common cause with those types of liberals on those issues, and who are also communitarians. But there are libertarian conservatives who take personal freedom as their touchstone and, just as they wouldn't intervene in the marketplace, are also totally free speech. Where I cross the line is that I believe strongly that money is *not* equatable to speech. So I part company with libertarians and firmly support campaign finance regulations.

Again, for me the distinction is appropriate regulation in the public sphere, hands off the private sphere.

At least this is how I break it all down for myself.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Which, if Harper cozys up to Bush in public or does anything stupid with Kyoto et al, would last about six months to a year. Time for our natural governing party to clean house and be ready to ask forgiveness.

Harper has zero need to do anything about Kyoto now and it would be politically stupid to do so. I don't watch Canadian politics closely but presumably he's in the lead because he's a competent politician. The smae thing is to keep Kyoto alive for as long as possible and use it to beat up the liberals. What happens when the Canadian people find out for all their efforts at stopping pollution they get to pay Russia $250M for doing NOTHING? What happens when they find out they're not even coming close to meeting the guidelines the liberals agreed to?

I think most Americans look at Canada as a suburb of the USA in a practical sense and then as part of the EU in a political sense. Canada has no real identity. Australia has always had a much closer political/diplomatic association as has the UK. The Aussies have a much stronger identity here. If it wasn't for Hockey Canada wouldn't get much publicity at all. What kind of government Canada has matters about as much as what kind Cambodia has. My interest is in looking at EU style liberalism and see how it fares. If I remember correctly they're birth rate statistics are only marginally better and more than any other nation are scrambling to attract immigrants.

Posted by: rdw on January 13, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Hamza is an unusually repellent person, which makes it hard to work up much sympathy for his plight. And yet something about this trial struck me: unless I'm mistaken, not a single one of these charges would make it to trial in the United States, Patriot Act or no. ...Four years after 9/11, we're still pretty distant from being the fascist state some seem to think we are.

Excuse me for skipping past the thread; I'll go back to see how many others caught the obvious flaw in your argument.

Your comment, Kevin, overlooks the fact that Bush could declare Hamza an enemy combatant and detain him indefinitely with no review at all -- and that this power is one asserted unilaterally by the Executive, not explicitly bestowed by Congress (unlike, if memory serves me right, FDR's power to detain German saboteurs).

Yes, our judiciary system has functioned as a marvelous check on the excesses of the Executive -- a fact that Bush is busy trying to undo with Alito's nomination. But regardless of its stated intention, the powers asserted by the Executive are those of a tyrant. We didn't have to stoop so low during the Cold War when the enemy was Soviet Russia; it's beyond pathetic that fear has caused some to consent to Bush's power grab. My sole consolation is that they will undoubtedly change their minds the minute a Democratic president is sworn in and they realize he (or she) has the same powers they allowed Bush to usurp.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Gregory on January 13, 2006 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Excuse me for skipping past the thread; I'll go back to see how many others caught the obvious flaw in your argument.

And the answer is, just about everyone I'd have expected to. Sorry, Kevin, but your limp apologia of a comment just doesn't hold water.

Posted by: Gregory on January 13, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

rdw is an unusually repellant person...

Since when did boneheaded critiques of Canadian politics become part of the RNC talking points?

Posted by: caribou on January 13, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Since when did boneheaded critiques of Canadian politics become part of the RNC talking points?

I dunno, but boneheaded critiques and RNC talking points are all rdw has.

Posted by: Gregory on January 13, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin, very far, except for the people we've tortured to death.

Posted by: Donald Johnson on January 13, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK
You should research how the Chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain is being investigated for anti-gay comments. Anti-jew comments are OK, but anti-gay is not!

Since the main article that spawned this thread comments on Hamza's prosecution in the UK for, among other things, anti-Semitic incitement, I think we can safely say that McAristotle is being as stupid as normal.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Drexel Hill Public Library is underfunded. Their last purchase of any Canadian book, was a review of Sgt Preston and the Yukon Territory. Poor Witless, after spending the night in the dumpster behind Maggie O'Neill's, is far too hung over to check out Barnes & Noble, so he must sleep it off in the Canadian section of the library.
If he helps them clean the library, they let him slobber over the Ronny RayGun books.

Posted by: stupid git on January 13, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

rdw is an unusually repellant person...
Since when did boneheaded critiques of Canadian politics become part of the RNC talking points?

Posted by: caribou on January 13, 2006 at 9:21 AM

i usually don't bother to respond to rdw, but that was so wrong as to almost be amusing.

i don't know if boneheaded critiques of Canadian poltics are usually part of RNC talking points, or if rdw is trying to overreach for more trex points.

Posted by: e1 on January 13, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Well, two observations jump right out:

1) Soliciting others to commit murder is certainly a crime in most, if not all, jurisdictions in the US.

2) It is famously the left that advocates criminalizing "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred" in the US. It is a rich irony for you to point out that it is a good thing such activity is not a crime in the US (although, indeed, it may run afoul of some of the more Orwellian hate crime codes).

Posted by: Roger Rainey on January 13, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"This is yet another example of a way in which America, which is supposedly far to Europe's right, isn't always."

True that. The NSA 'scandal' here in the US would be something that is entirely accetable, even expected, overseas in most European countries.

Posted by: jerry on January 13, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Dang, can't believe I missed this post until now.

Mussolini defined fascism as the convergence of corporate and state power and said that it should really be called "corporatism".
The roots of fascism stems from the failure of Marx's philosophy due to the industrial revolution (seems that fixed wealth assumption was a bad one). The socialists of the time realized this, and the next step was to blend corporatism with socialism (an odd marriage, to say the least). Of course, in the hands of totalitarian rulers, all political ideals seem to be discarded for personal gain and exercise of power. Basically, fascism was coopted by dictators to get them in power; then they became dictators, not fascists.

So the constant complaints about fascism this, fascism that, are largely ungrounded. The complaint is about totalitarianism.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 13, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

An unusually repellant person wrote: "My interest is in looking at EU style liberalism and see how it fares. If I remember correctly they're birth rate statistics are only marginally better..."

Canada's fertility rate is around 1.6, about the average for the EU, yes. But subtract hispanics, and the american fertility rate is around 1.7 or 1.8, hardly any higher. In addition, the average age of women's first child has been trending up in the EU and Canada in the last couple of decades. This means that the *present* fertility rates are understated. The *lifetime* fertility rates are higher.

And I've said this before, at least twice, and you have no counter to it. I'm starting to doubt urp's memory, honesty, or intelligence. I'm not sure which is his most doubtful quality.

As to "liberalism" in Canada, compare any given indicator of violence, population health, equality, or the state of our cities to that south of the border, and we come out way the hell ahead. Compare Seattle to Vancouver. Half the homicide rate, healthier city core, better transit. Compare Toronto to Detroit. 1/10 the homicide rate, and comparing the city cores is simply tragic. The USA would do well to adopt much of our "liberalism". Heck, Kansas City has a murder rate almost a dozen times that of an average Canadian city.

BTW, Canada is having trouble meeting its Kyoto commitments almost entirely due to tar sands production, which should really be counted under the USA ledger, imho. It's developed at american urging, in the most americanized province, for american consumer habits.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 13, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

And I've said this before, at least twice, and you have no counter to it. I'm starting to doubt urp's memory, honesty, or intelligence. I'm not sure which is his most doubtful quality.

What am I supposed to counter?


If you are talking about birth rates the American rate of 2.06 is significantly different than 1.6. Why drop hispanics? Your estimate by the way is absurd. With only 12% of the population they can only have a minimal impact on birth rates. But I'm white and they're just as American as I am so why drop them? There is absolutely a wider variability within different segments of the white population than between whites and hispanics. Catholics and Mormons have much higher birth rates than secularists.

Posted by: rdw on January 13, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney:

> Even "pro free-market" conservatives have to
> draw the line somewhere - we are not advocating
> a return to 18th Century slavery, for instance -

*rolling eyes* 18th century slavery had nothing to do
with the free market. The Southern slave economy was
a feudal/mercantile system that was opposed by the
emerging forces of industrial capitalism in the north.

> it is completely consistent for conservatives
> to be pro-life and pro free market.

I really did think that the right-wing trolls here couldn't get any
stupider than McAristotle, but I guess I was wrong. Being pro-life
and being pro-free market have *nothing to do* with each other.
The standard Libertarian position argues that you're -- of course
-- wrong. A woman owns her body the way people own the rewards of
their labor. But if you extend the individualist analysis this is
based on to the fetus, then you arrive at your position (which is
also a form of slavery for women, which is why Libs oppose it). A
more traditional conservative doesn't need to think of the market
at all to invoke irreducible religious prohibitions on abortion.

> P.S. Terry Schiavo had the right to die
> herself - her husband should not have.

Of course the factual basis of this isn't any
sounder than the grammar of your sentence.

Terry Schiavo's will was expressed to her husband,
who expressed it on her behalf when she couldn't.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Canada's fertility rate is around 1.6, about the average for the EU, yes. But subtract hispanics, and the american fertility rate is around 1.7 or 1.8, hardly any higher. In addition, the average age of women's first child has been trending up in the EU and Canada in the last couple of decades. This means that the *present* fertility rates are understated. The *lifetime* fertility rates are higher.

This is incorrect and every demographer will tell you so. I also am very interested it racist poin tof view illustrated by the "subtract hispanics."

The demographic timebomb in the EU and the fact that they have a harder time with immigration (and give them a harder time as well) is a serious issue.

Posted by: Etianne on January 13, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

We didn't have to stoop so low during the Cold War when the enemy was Soviet Russia;

We did and often.

Posted by: ET on January 13, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't agree more, Kev. Well said.

Posted by: MDS on January 13, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the American left's hysteria regarding the construction of Bush's so called fascist state is wildly overblown. Most of the enhancements made under the Patriot Act are still incredibly mild compared with European nation's laws regarding terrorism, speech and incitement. If anything, the British approach towards terrorist incitement is both more practicable and sensible. American liberals, much like radical conservatives, are all too apt to think in worst case scenario terms and develop persecution complexes that subscribe to their particular political world view.

Posted by: Jim Pugliese on January 13, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

One should remember that Britain is a monarchy. Any legislation Parliament passes the Queen can veto. Therefore, comparing their situation to ours and implying their is a dictatorship is just stupid.

If you want to bend over, drop your drawers and stick your head in the sand, then you shouldn't be too surprised if somebody spanks you (or worse) real hard.

If the revelation of pre-9/11 (supposedly from the early weeks of Dubya's adminstration in 2001) spying is true then we've been closer to a dictatorship for much longer than we thought. I suppose at some point they'd feel secure enough to make the public announcement.

Posted by: MarkH on January 13, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

>This is incorrect and every demographer will tell you so.

I don't believe that you have any idea what you're talking about. You don't even seem to have heard of the phenominon of delayed fertility while avg age of first-births is trending upwards. You just a nice hate-driven axe to grind, and probably a quasi-religious belief in fertility as an objective good.

>I also am very interested it racist poin tof view illustrated by the "subtract hispanics."

Nice. But it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with economics and culture.

The EU, most of the USA, and Canada have been economically secure enough, long enough, that they've undergone a cultural/economic transition where they have fewer children, investing more in each child. This demographic transition is well known, and happens virtually everywhere there is development and progress in women's social status and education. In fact for global population it's just about the strongest and best-understood trend around. It appears to act almost independently of ethnicity.

Exceptions are virtually exclusively areas where rabid religious fundamentalism is dominant, such as Utah or Saudi Arabia.

Latin America is just a few decades behind us in development, the people from there (through no fault of their own) are thus somewhat lower in socioeconomic status even when they first arrive in a developed country. So their birth rates are still higher than that of groups that have been economically secure for one or more full generations. I'd expect that in 20 years it'll all be a wash.

Canada's immigrant population, at least on the west coast, is mostly from areas of SE asia that have already undergone such a transition, and so have approx as many children as "native-born" Canadians of any ethnic group (and from those that I know, invest intensely in each one).

The point is that if you're trumpeting the USA as being a healthier society due to its average fertility rate (probably because it's difficult to claim it is healthy based on any other indicator), and the comparison is invalid, because the majority of the difference is due to imported fertility.

In fact, the reverse could be argued: the fact that some groups still have much higher than replacement fertility rates is evidence that your society treats them unequally, and they do not feel their children's future is secure, or that hard work and education will always be rewarded.

The evidence has been in for a long time. On average, individuals in secure populations, barring a fundamentalist pathology, have just a few children, in which they invest a great deal.

This is also, by the way, probably the reason that developed democracies in the west are now so leery of getting sucked into boots-on-the-ground wars.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 13, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

urp>With only 12% of the population they can only have a minimal impact on birth rates.

>But I'm white and they're just as American as I am so why drop them?

Yes, they're just as american (or rather, should be). But they're imported fertility nonetheless, and new immigrants have not been brought up in the USA's social and economic climate, so their fertility rates are not necc evidence of anything relating to the USA.

Besides, since when is fertility a measure of population health? At least one economist points to EU citizen's average increase in height. Men in the netherlands average well over six feet! Dutch-derived people here are shorter. The issue is silly.

In fact I'd argue (seriously) the other way - over-replacement fertility rates OR religious fundementalism in the modern world are evidence that the population in question feels insecure in some fashion. People turn to fundamentalism, by and large, when they have problems or are afraid. Why do you think the fundies in the states are so turned on by 9/11?

>Catholics and Mormons have much higher birth rates than secularists.

Because some of them have not yet awoken from the demands of popes and preachers looking to expand their flocks, for questionable motives to do with power or a dubious effort at gaining god's favour. And I say that as someone from a catholic, immigrant background.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 13, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oops:
urp>With only 12% of the population they can only have a minimal impact on birth rates

(0.12)(3.6) + (0.88)(X) = 2.06

solve for X = 1.8

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 13, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

who among Americans would have the slightest idea that they are under fascist rule?

(certainly not the members of the cult of republicanism here and across 'Merka enamored of fascism's symptoms)

Posted by: gak on January 14, 2006 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

In addition, the average age of women's first child has been trending up in the EU and Canada in the last couple of decades. This means that the *present* fertility rates are understated. The *lifetime* fertility rates are higher.

The population replacement rate does not look at the ages but at births. It's not relevent if the acerge age of the birth mother is 22 or 28.

The 3.6 birth rate for Hispanics is vastly overstated and as you stated previously ethnicity is not a significant factor in birth rates.

Besides, since when is fertility a measure of population health? At least one economist points to EU citizen's average increase in height. Men in the netherlands average well over six feet! Dutch-derived people here are shorter. The issue is silly.

No one is suggesting it's a measure of health. It's a measure of survival. Europe is rapidly depopulating. I don't have the exact stats so these are just guesses. They will lose 40% of their population every 75 years.

For simplicity lets just use France and the ethnic French and assume they represent 54M of the total. By 2070 it'll be 33M, 2140 - 20M, 2200 - 12M, 2270 - 7M 2240 - 4.3M. This assumes France will stabilize their falling birth rates and there's no signs of that hapenning. Obviously this is an ethnic disaster and it's worse in Germany, Spain and Italy. The pundits are already of Eurabia as in 'when' not 'if'. There's no opinion here. They kow for a fact in 19 years there will be many fewer ethnic Europeans than now and it drops every year.

Because some of them have not yet awoken from the demands of popes and preachers looking to expand their flocks, for questionable motives to do with power or a dubious effort at gaining god's favour. And I say that as someone from a catholic, immigrant background.

That's pure religious bigotry. Catholics are as well educated and independent as any group as are the Mormons. It's odd you'd even say than knowing full well the lowest birth rates are in Italy and Spain. Supposedly the two most catholic countries on the planet. So much for rigid adherence to the Pope

I have 4 kids as do a lot of the catholic families in my area. 3 is more common and 2 is more common while 1 is uncommon. I'd suggest the pattern is nearly reversed in secular societies. I futher suggest that a persons outlook is a determinant of family size as well as wealth. Europeans as a society are miserable compared to Americans. Chirac just gave a speech telling them to cheer up. They believe this Global Warming nonsense as well as in zero population growth. Americans are quite the opposite. There's major skepticism on global warming and even those who beleive also beleive it's something Americans can amange around. We always do. Our country is cleaner by the day because we have the wealth and intellect to clean it. Americans see the zero population group as heros. It's a terrific way to clean up the gene pool by getting rid of the morons.

BTW: I went to Catholic school k - 12. Never once did I hear anyone tell me to have a lot of Kids or suggest I'd gain God's favor by doing so. It's amazing how often I hear this nonsense. It's almost never right.

Posted by: rdw on January 14, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, they're just as american (or rather, should be). But they're imported fertility nonetheless, and new immigrants have not been brought up in the USA's social and economic climate, so their fertility rates are not necc evidence of anything relating to the USA.

My son-is-law is 50% hispanic thanks to a 100% hispanic Pop from a very latin part of florida. He is as American as anyone His Grandmother was born in Cuba and still speaks fluent spanish and uses it 90% of the time. Their immigration patterns are identical to that of the Irish and Italians. They have assmilated into the culture fully and because they have the culture has changed.

New immigrants from Mexico have yet to adapt because it's a matter of time. But it's clear those who decide to stay will adapt to the culture just as those who went before did. And by doing so will further change the culture.

It takes no more than 2 generations. In terms of population birth rates it's a blip.

The problem in France as I read about it is they has separate societies. They either take the French culture as is or not. There is no assimilation or blending of the cultures. The choice for a North African immigrant is to live in a French world or a North African world. From an economic perspective there's little choice. They will live in the ghetto's provided.

This is Europes problem. They are not a melting pot. They do not assimilate. They have separate societies. What happens when the small minorities become large minorities? Either they will have just as much wealth and opportunity OR there will be hell to pay.

Posted by: rdw on January 14, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Heres the decade-by-decade progression of Democrat power in the U.S. House of Representatives since the time at which Jimmy Carter told us we were in a malaise:

1980 - 277 seats.
1990 - 260 seats.
2000 - 211 seats.

Present - 202 seats.

Now, even more importantly, here are the top-10 fastest-growing states in the nation, along with their current Republican majorities among their respective House Districts:

1) Nevada - GOP leads 2-1.
2) Arizona - 6-2.
3) Idaho - 2-0.
4) Florida - 18-7.
5) Utah - 2-1.
6) Texas - 21-11.
7) North Carolina - 7-6.
8) Georgia - 7-6.
9) Delaware - 1-0.
10) South Carolina - 4-2.

Yeah, Buchanan, the GOP has U.S. House majorities in each of the ten fastest-growing states.

Ten of 10.

With a 70-36 aggregate majority.

In any event, youve just gotta love the interplay between political realities, population trends, and a population-based mechanism such as the U.S. House.

Dont you agree, Sullivan-Chomsky?

******************************************
The above is courtesy of polipundit.com

Posted by: rdw on January 14, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly